Financing for COVID hits $14B

    Containing the spread. Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management conducts disinfection and fogging operations in a barangay in Sta. Mesa placed on granular lockdown on March 15, 2021. (Photo by RHOY COBILLA)

    The Philippines was able to secure financing support from development partners and commercial markets for the country’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response amounting to $14.29 billion to date, data from the Department of Finance (DOF) showed.

    This was the amount secured for COVID-19 response efforts as of March 17, 2021, data posted on the DOF website showed.

    The DOF said $13.35 billion in budgetary support financing came from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Agence Française de Développement, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Export-Import Bank of Korea-Economic Development Cooperation Fund and US dollar-denominated global bonds.

    Of the said amount, $12.31 billion has been disbursed to the government.

    In addition, the DOF said grant and loan financing amounting to $941.74 million have been contracted in support of various projects to be implemented by agencies involved in COVID-19 response.

    Earlier this week, the DOF said the loans provided by the country’s multilateral development partners will secure the funding needed to procure COVID-19 vaccines and keep on track the government’s target to inoculate at least 70 million Filipinos.

    Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, earlier expressed his gratitude to the Philippines’ multilateral partner-institutions for extending a total of $1.2 billion in fresh loans to the government to help fund the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program and its other pandemic response measures.

    “We thank our multilateral development partners–WB, ADB and AIIB–for stepping up their support for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response measures, particularly our ongoing efforts to secure these life-saving doses for our people and fast-track our vaccination rollout,” Dominguez said.

    “The prompt and substantial financing extended by our multilateral partners is crucial to the accomplishment of the Duterte administration’s target to inoculate at least 70 million Filipinos, or 100 percent of our adult population, hopefully within this year, so that we can safely open wide our economy and return it to its pre-pandemic path of high and inclusive growth,” he added.

    The WB said on March 12 it has approved $500 million in additional funding to support the Philippine government’s program to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen the country’s health systems, and overcome the impact of the pandemic, especially on the poor and the most vulnerable.

    On the same day, the ADB announced that the Philippines became the first recipient of financing support under its Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) with the approval of a $400 million loan that will help the country purchase safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

    The ADB loan is for the Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 project that aims to assist the Department of Health in procuring and ensuring delivery to the country of vaccines certified by the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility and bilateral vaccine suppliers that meet APVAX eligibility criteria.

    The ADB project will be supported by $300 million in co-financing from the AIIB.